Saturday, December 27, 2008

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers and the new one's too! As you have gathered, Christmas is a wonderful and important time to me and my family. This year, we had a little curve in the road. My daughter was stuck in Olympia, Washington with no way home. I made a vow to my children a long time ago that if it were at all possible for us to be together at Christmas, we would be. After exhausting every possible avenue, it became clear what needed to happen. It was my son's idea actually Christmas Eve morning, we loaded up presents, essentials and all the food I could grab and headed for Olympia.

A harrowing trip and one large freak out later, we arrived Christmas Eve at my daughter's apartment. I was immediately glad that we did. Not only was my daughter on her own, but one of her friends, who waited the better part of a day in the Sea Tac Airport only to find out he would not be able to get home to Colorado for Christmas, was stranded as well. It became immediately evident that I was where I needed to be.

A make shift Christmas Eve, and a wonderful Christmas morning, a restful day and a Christmas dinner shared with my daughter's grateful friend, the day was wonderful and it passed all too quickly.
One thing that I always do, no matter how perfect the Christmas is sweat the really small stuff. I worry that my house was dark and no lights when I was gone. I remembered that we didn't get out the Night Before Christmas. The little insignificant things that really don't matter always seem to nag me a little. I worried that though he was completely on board for the adventure that Christmas was less for my son. I worry that Christmas will be all over the day after. I always hate that as I like to drag it out as long as possible.

So we made it home no worse for the wear the day after Christmas. Just as long, but not as stressful as a trip. When we got home, I was so excited to see some packages outside my door that had arrived late due to the storm. The snow was as we had left it.

My son had to work but we had a little leftover ham dinner before he went. While he was gone, I got a little homestyle Christmas organized, a fire lit and some candles. When he came home, we had a little Christmas with just us. We drank some egg nog and much to my suprise and happiness, we found a Christmas movie on TV and found Christmas music was still playing on a station. Not sure I had ever seen this happen before, it was wonderful. It also began to snow just as my son arrived home.

We opened our new presents, sent photos to Amanda who was not able to come home with us and enjoyed my happy Christmas house. The snow continued to fall and when looking outside, I had three little doe's standing underneath the white lights of my lilac bushes. One was very close to the window looking inside. It was perfect. The deer in my window hilighted the amazing wildlife we had seen on the trip.

The conditions were dicey and it was slow going, we saw large evergreens heavy with wet new snowfall. We saw Multnomah Falls with beautiful blue ice all around it. We say big horned sheep right by the highway, abundant deer, a few elk and three bald eagles on the trip. Driving that slow allows you to take in things you normally wouldn't see.

In my 46 Christmas', this was the first ever that have not spent in my own home. Same for my children with the exception of once. I was thrilled not only to be able to get to my daughter, but to return home safely and see that for once, Christmas was still happening. It always makes me so sad to see discarded living room centerpiece trees the morning after the celebration. It seemed like a mini miracle to me to still find Christmas music on satallite and Christmas movies still playing. I am lucky to have had the best of both worlds in adverse conditions. A wonderful family Christmas with a new family member and a safe return home to continue with traditional ways. So blessed this season. So truly blessed. Proving once again that that best gifts don't always come in a box with shiny wrapping paper.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Joy's of QVC

I just got one of the funnest birthday presents I have received in a long time. I got QVC gift cards. I'm serious! Now there is a story that goes along with that. You see, I'm a total QVC tramp. I watch QVC all the time when there is nothing else on when I want to watch or just something to watch when I can not sleep. I play a little game with myself called "buy it or not buy it". In this game, I announce that if I could I would either chose to purchase or not to purchase that item. But I never really do it.

Also, I am not one to spend money on myself. I just don't. When you have kids and there is nothing you truly need, you just don't. At least not often. So in more financially challenging times when my satallite dish was a luxury, I only received a hand full of channels and one of them was QVC. So you know what was always on. My friend noticed this and found humor in it so for my birthday I got QVC cards.

I cannot begin to tell you how much fun this has been. First of all, the sheer humor of the gift itself. Then, the ability to keep them in my nightstand for when I see that, "I'd buy that" item. But today I also rediscovered QVC online. And guess what? If you order today, they still guarentee shipping by Christmas!

I got some badly needed new sheets. The combed jersey kind that will keep me and Isobel the Wonder Corgi warm in this cold weather. I also got a little gingerbread house (I collect Christmas Gingerbread things) that melts little good-smelly thingy's in sugar cookie and gingerbread smells (you have no idea how exciting that is for me)! And I got Philosophy Body Washes in Apple Cider, Hot Cocoa and Vanilla Wafer! NERVANA!!!! Oh yes, oh yes, I am set for the long winter!

When I thanked my dear friend for the gift...I mentioned what a monster she has likely created. Not only the joy of frivilously spending money on oneself, but to order something so fun and have it delived to my doorstep in time to enjoy for Christmas....well...I think I may have to breathe into a paper bag just to calm myself down again! No. I mean it. What could be a better gift than that! It's the lottery, BABY!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bringing Out the Best

I love winter. It's my favorite time of year. I am certain I was a pioneer woman in a previous life. I don't feel like I've really gotten the most out of the season unless I have suffered a little. Chop a little wood, bundle up a little more....Well be careful what you ask for.

Currently, my town is 6 degrees. It is what I call booger freezin' cold! And I'm getting my wish. My truck hesitates to start, but start it does. And as most of you know, I also own a horse so keeping her warm and fed, not to mention dragging a hose across and ally to keep her water trough full, is criteria enough for a little winter suffering in this cold snap.

But aside from the cold and picturesque snow, this time of year seems to bring out the best in people. People reach out to each other a little more when conditions are a little more challenging. You see neighbors helping each other shovel out their walks. You see complete strangers diving out of their own warm rigs to give a push to someone who is stuck or at least having trouble moving forward. I have pulled over to offer rides to folks not dressed for the conditions. On the news where the homeless are prevelant, you see more donations of blankets and warm clothing going out to those in need. And even those who are financially tight will dig a little deeper in their pockets to give what they can to the bell ringers.

No one wants to see anyone suffer more that what is expected during this time of year and I feel that the cold brings out the best in each one of us. Yes, we all grumble out our personal discomfort in times of extreme cold, but we might as well make the most of it and do what we can for others. There is always someone a little worse off than you are. Look around and see the unparalleled beauty the cold brings. And notice the giving that comes with it. For me, it is Christmas Spirit and what the season is all about. Throw another log on the fire and enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Med Spa Set Wishes Merry Christmas!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's a Vintage Christmas

Much to the chagrin of my children, I love vintage Christmas decorations. The sad part? They remind me of my childhood.

From now until February I get obsessed at looking at vintage Christmas decorations on Ebay. And now am realizing that I have some of these items. Not that my childhood was that great (who's was) but Christmas was always magic and looking at so many of these items take me back and I love it.

Some day, I want a Sparkler style aluminum Christmas tree. A full one. My kids think they are the ugliest things that ever graced the planet. I love them. I grew up with one just like this that was graced with only green ball ornaments and, of course, the color wheel that magically changed the tree from red to green to blue to gold. It was the best. I remember how sad I was went we went to a green artificial tree. It I could get ahold of one of these, I would put it in my room (because my kids wouldn't allow it anywhere else) and I would leave the color wheel on it all the time.

We also had this plastic Santa wall hanging that was about 4 feet tall with the image of Santa and one eye that would wink at you when you moved up and down when I was a kid. I keep watching for one of these. I haven't seen one yet. However I do have the gold bell that you pull the string and it plays Jingle Bells. It even works but I am dreading the day when I pull the sting and there it stays. I can't remember not ever having it so it has to be at least 40 years old.

I am also lucky enough to have a pleathera of antique ornaments that did belong to my grandparents. I treasue these and they are among the first to go on my big tree every year. How about those little felt elves that hug their knees? My mom had a ton of those and I don't know where they are now. Lost in the fray, I'm sure. I wouldn't mind having a couple of those again some day.

Though I see so many things I would love to buy, one thing I have learned about shopping for vintage Christmas things is that, unless you can tie them to something, a memory or family, they don't mean quite as much. So many fun things to buy and I pass up vintage ornaments all the time just because....I don't have their story. Not that I tell stories about my thing when people come over, but I guess it's just that I know.

To me, each one has a soul. Each one has weathered so many Christmas seasons, wars, family changes and they are still here to tell the story if only they could. Yes, along with my gingerbread, my vintage things are by far my favorite.

I don't see an end to my monitor shopping with my eyes wide for hours. Not at all. I still may find that huge silver sparkler tree with lots of branches for a price I just can't pass up. I know my kids can hardly wait!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I L-O-V-E Love My Botox!

And now you know. I've had work done. I had my first Botox injections last Friday and I have to say, it's one of the best things I have done in a long time.

I will be 45 this weekend and have had the blessing of looking slightly younger than my age. But I have this deep furrow in between my eyes. I have called it my exhusband wrinkle for years and I hate it. Terrified of needles as I am, I didn't think I'd ever be able to take the injections. But I did and now there is no turning back.

They say to give your injections 4 to 10 days to take effect but just 3 days into it, I am seeing significant results. My exhusband wrinkle? Gone. My eyebrows? A slight lift at the arch that I've never had before no matter how I shape my brows. My forehead? Smooth. And the best part. Can I still move my face? Yes!

One thing you need to know about me is that I am a HUGE baby with no pain tolerance whatsoever. I endured two natural childbirths due to my fear of needles if that tells you anything. I will make myself hysterical over the thought of a flu shot and those who know me have seen this in action. Having said that, I soldiered on to a smoother look.

The injections themselves were uncomfortable. Not intolerable. The immediate effects were some soreness in my forehead that was nothing that anyone could see and nothing that one regular strength Tylenol couldn't take care of. Bruising was minimal. Again nothing visible and I still have one injection site that is tender if I thump it. I try not to thump it. This is the stuff that no one tells you about. But this is something I will do again and again and again for the results I have received.

I am lucky enough to work at Grande Ronde Med Spa and I have heard our clients come in and rave about the procedure. Now I have to agree. A Botox virgin no longer, I too am singing the praises and will not go back!

If you are interested, first find a reputable physician or R.N. who works under a physician to do this. If you are able to be anywhere near NE Oregon, call the Spa. Jacqui Shreiner is fabulous at what she does. And finally, if you are a first timer (or in my case a second or third timer) don't hesitate to ask for a hand holder. We have several who do ask for this little bit of extra care and we are happy to provide it. It really does make a difference.

On a final note, many people scoff at the Botoxers sighting vanity or mentally applying that Hollywood stigmatism to it and think of Joan Rivers. I am embarrassed to admit I used to be one of them. Let me ask you this. What do you pay at the salon a month? What do you spend on skin care? Do you color your hair? Do you wear acrylics? And why do you do that??? To look your best. Well why not make the investment that lasts for at least 3 months and make a world of diffence? Think of it as part of your maintanence routine!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cynical Season?

Every year I get a little more concerned about Christmas. I went to download a Christmas graphic for my cell phone. What I found was pin up girls covered with nothing but a candy cane and other less tasteful choices. I finally found a harmless Thomas Kincade scene and I haven't ventured back since. When I complained to my son, he told me that I am not that norm. That what I found is what Christmas is for most people. Someone please tell me that's not true.

Or is it a sign of the times? Christmas was so magical for me. I don't know that my parents worked that hard at it but it just was. I worked very hard to keep the magic alive for my kids. So much so that the anxiety each year that someone would "spoil" it for them would unnerve me. But today? I constantly hear ads on the radio and television that dash the magic for kids. And maybe a child doesn't see it the way I do. I hold on to that thought.

I'm a Christmas puritan and I love the classics. And as I have begun to bring them out, the message often follows how I feel making me wonder if this is just the Christmas spiritual crisis of my time.

In watching Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course), Kris Kringle states that convincing Mrs. Walker and Susan that there is a Santa Claus is his last hope to save the spirit of Christmas or he's through. In the end of course, Mrs. Walker tells her daughter that faith is believing when common sense tells you not too. Christmas saved again.

Don't laugh but one of my all time favorites is Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I watched that tonight and and the messages in it are so pure and beautiful. Do you know that some channels now edit out the darling scene where he sings to the children while passing out toys? A negative sign of the times. It's the message at the end that moves me nearly to tears when in the little cartoon they show the cynics stating that Christmas should be outlawed and how can people think of Christmas when there is so much unhappiness in the world. The message then goes on to say that yes, there is unhappiness but if we all were a little more like Santa and gave of our time, gifts and talents then maybe there truly would be peace on earth. I agree.

In this magical time, I am always reminded of just that. If we can all keep the magic going just a little longer. If we could all be as charitable througout the year as we are at Christmas, think of the difference that could make in the world.

And Virgina, let's keep glad the heart of childhood.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Shoe Commercial

Okay so how many of you have see that commercial where the shoes start falling out of the sky and the woman jumps out of her car and starts picking them up??? That commercial stresses me to no end.

First of all...does she get matching shoes? What good are a bunch of shoes if none of them match?

Second of all...are they her size? What good are a bunch of shoes if none of them are her size? Then she just has a car full of a bunch of shoes that she can't use. Does she collect shoes for the homeless or what will become of them?

And last...when she drives away...does she just drive over the shoes? And what if one of the shoes she drives over is the perfect shoe in her size that goes with that one shoe she truly loves in the back of her car? This commercial needs to be far more specific IMHO!

Monday, November 3, 2008

President Barack Obama

I don't even know where to start. I can't get enough MSNBC Live. I can't read enough on CNN. I can't wait for tomorrow to get here. I'm like a little kid who can hardly wait for Santa to arrive. There will be no sleep. My behavior will be extra good...well....let's not take things too far. But I'm as giddy as a little kid waiting to open that shiny package.

The time between holidays was long. There has been no light and few moments to celebrate in the past 8 years. In fact, I can't think of any. Oh yes. Capturing Bin Laden. I mean, Sadam Hussein. On my 40th birthday, in fact. Yes, the Bush admininstration can have bragging rights to that one. But no more. The election four years ago severely divided this country between so called Godless Liberals and the Christian right wing. Both incorrect and devisive statements that did far more to divide a country than unify a party.

I can already feel those wounds start to heal. I haven't heard those terms thankfully in this election as I did in 2004. I think that is why Barack Obama had such a profound effect on so many of us during that speech at the DNC. He spoke of healing and reconciliation between the parties that had been so damaged in the last campaign. He spoke of hope and unity back then as he continues to do today.

I see very little change in the leader I saw that day in 2004 until now. In fact, the changes I do see are growth and maturity and a poise and composure to take the reigns and lead this country out of the dark abyss that has come to seem so normal to the American people. How wrong that we have come to expect that as normal. It's the only explanation I can find for those who still want to keep the dark as a normal way of life.

Yes, on the eve of this nation electing our first president of color, I stop to think about how far this country has come on subject of race. And how far it has to go. My own ethnic children (16 and 21) received a disturbing email from their own father yesterday full of ignorance and intolerance that made my stomach turn. Fortunatly, my children dismissed it for the bigotry that it was but it lefting me thinking about those who put some much energy to fill their hearts with hate and wrong that has no premise other than the color of one's skin, birthright or heritage. Amazing. And I continue to look for the day that we no longer have to consider whether it's the first African American, Native American, Hispanic, or fill in your own ethnic favorite first, we just know it's the best choice. And the day that we choose due to who is the best choice and the color of their skin in no longer a consideration.

Yes, tomorrow will be a wonderful day for so many reasons. It's checking off another first. Its the start of a new era. A new day and a new way of life and thinking. It's the beginning of new prosperity and possibilities the likes this country has not seen in a very long time. It's a day I can hardly wait to share with my children especially my daughter who is voting for a president for the first time in her young life. And for my son who wants to save the Obama/Biden sign we have in our front yard to show his own children one day that he remembers when he was elected and attended a rally where he spoke.

It won't happen over night. This, as all things, will take time. But progress is worth having. We may not recognize it right away because we aren't used to having it but it will feel wonderful. I can feel the change already. And it feels good. So here's to tomorrow night. To quote my dear friend who, upon mixing the happy hour drinks on Friday nights, toasts us all by stating, "Let the healing begin!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not Just for Valentine's Anymore

Christmas is fast approaching and through this venue, I'd like to help you out once in awhile by providing you with what I feel is the best in holiday shopping. Many of you men need an alternative suggestion for your sweetheart at the holidays other than Wal-Mart of Safeway to shop. Well I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite locations from several things.

Serendipity/Brides Outlet is not only a wonderful formal dress and all purpose bridal boutique but do not forget it for jewelry and gift items such as lingerie for that special someone. I invite you to check out their new website and see if you can't find something for someone you love you better yet, something wonderful for yourself! Happy shopping!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anyone See a Pattern Here?

Yesterday I was listening to my favorite morning radio show, Young and Verna in the Morning, and Jeff Young had mentioned a pattern he believed to be true regarding gasoline prices. He felt that the prices would be low until the presidential election and then go up. He, or a listener, felt that it was a political practice to assist the election. Maybe.

It seems to me that over the last several years, that you can count on gas prices going up prior to the Memorial Day holiday, staying high through the travel months and then declining as the summer wanes. Am I the only one who has noticed this trend?

A possible political ploy. More likely oil companies taking advantage of the peak season of travel just like other members of the travel industry such as motels, airlines, buslines and the like. Though I must say I am suprised at the rate of the decline this fall, I think it's something we can count on as winter approaches.

Let's think about this for a second. Big oil is big business (not new news) that has a peak season as well as a low season. You can count on them to rise and fall with supply and demand just like anything else. And...though they are far from having a low profit margin, can be counted on to raise prices when demand is high and lower when demand is lower in order to increase business.

It's been on the news that people got creative over the summer and biked, hiked, hitched and did whatever it took not to drive. Ask those same drivers now if they are still using those alternative methods as much. Not as likely. Makes me wonder how low prices could get if winter permitted those alternative solutions to continue.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Swarovski Crystal Collectors Wanted!

Every once in awhile, someone crosses your path who just needs a little help. I had the priviledge of meeting a lovely lady this evening who needed just such a thing.

My new dear friend has what I have learned to be an extensive collection of Swarovski Crystal figurines. Upon doing a little research myself, I have learned that her pieces are worth anywhere from $800 to over $4,320 for the piece I show here on my site. Many of these pieces are retired or discontinued and nearly priceless in value.

Her concern is simply to have these pieces land in the hands of someone who collects or will appreciate each piece. She is in her golden years and has no one to leave these pieces to. Living in a rural area, the ability to sell such pieces and obtain their value is nearly impossible and, understandably, she is not willing to ship her pieces away without knowing where they are going or without have a tangible transaction in hand.

She is willing to sell by the piece, collection or series. If you are a collector or know someone who is, please email your information to me at and I will pass it on to my new friend. She will contact you directly.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rest in Peace, Winnie

Examining Bailouts BEFORE the Bailout

Former CEO's of bailed out AIG have accepted millions of dollars in severance pay. Let me say that again.

The government bailed out corporate company AIG at the price tag of $85 BILLION dollars and former CEO's have walked away with millions of dollars. Outraged yet? How about this. After the bailout, AIG executives celebrated their bright and shiny future by treating themselves to wining and dining at an elite resort, treating themselves to manucures, pedicures, massages and other spa treatments again costing in the $500,000. Want to know who paid for it? We did. You and I.

When was the last time you took your family to an exclusive spa for a weekend even where money was no object? I can easily say never.

When going before Congress, former CEO Martin Sullivan who resigned from AIG this past summer received 15 million dollars in severance pay. When asked if he would be giving any of that back to the tax payers, his response was no.

Mad now? How about this financial breakdown from USA Today:

"After the bailout of AIG last month, the United States government effectively bought an 80% share in the company. That should have caused a fundamental change, you would think, in how the company was spending funds on compensation, bonuses and benefits. The committee learned that shortly after the bailout went through, executives from AIG's major U.S. life insurance subsidiary, AIG American General, held a week-long conference at an exclusive resort in California.

The resort is called the St. Regis Monarch Beach. ... It's very impressive. This is an exclusive resort. The rooms start, gentlemen, at $425 a night. Some are more than $1,200 a night.
... We contacted the resort where AIG held this week-long event, and we requested copies of AIG's bills. We learned that AIG spent nearly $500,000 in a single week at the -- at this hotel. Now, this was right after the bailout.

... Let me describe some of the -- the charges that -- that the shareholders who are now U.S. taxpayers had to pay. Check this out.

AIG spent $200,000 for hotel rooms, and almost $150,000 for catered banquets. AIG spent -- listen to this one -- $23,000 at the hotel spa and another $1,400 at the salon. They were getting their manicures, their facials, their pedicures and their massages while the American people were -- were footing the bill.

And they spent another $10,000 for -- I don't know what this is -- leisure dining."

When going before Congress, former CEO Martin Sullivan who resigned from AIG this past summer received 15 million dollars in severance pay. When asked if he would be giving any of that back to the tax payers, his response was no.

According to KOKC talk radio, the bailout is now under investigation:
"Congress is looking into the government bailout of American Insurance Group today. New York State Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo will appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Dinallo is expected to tell the House committee the bailout was unavoidable. The federal government stepped in after the insurance giant's mortgage business suffered huge losses. However, Dinallo will testify that AIG's insurance business is still strong and profitable. "

Maybe the investigation should have happened PRIOR to the bailout. Stop panicking and do what's right for the country.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And Pittsburgh!

How 'bout those Steelers! Once again with an amazing game that went to the wire, my Steelers have pulled out yet another win despite being riddled with injuries. I am a firm believer that as Ben goes, so go my Steelers. When Big Ben pulls the numbers, this team seems unstoppable. One thing that I did notice tonight however was the absurd amount of taunting calls.

Well two but the two that their were seemed ridiculous. If you recall, several years ago they started calling the NFL the NO FUN LEAGUE. I think they are almost on the brink of that one again. The original no fun league started when celebrating in the end zone and "sack dances" became a so called problem. No fun was longer allowed in the end zone and then the league seemed to lighten up on that a little.

Tonight a Jag got called for a 15 yard taunting penalty for saying something over a Steeler receiver after making the catch. Good for us but I had a hard time imagining what could have been said in the NFL that would warrant a penalty like that. Trash talking goes to the extreme but I didn't see the point for the call. Later in the same game, Nate Washington got called for taunting when after making a catch on the Jag sideline, showed the ball to the Jags and went about his way. Again....15 yards.

Hmmmm....Now in a game where you get penalized 15 yards for grabbing some poor sucker by the face mask and yanking his head around 90 degrees I guess I feel like talking a little smack might not warrant the same punishment. Maybe making the crime fit the punishment seems a little more appropriate. Call his mother. Make him serve in a soup kitchen or maybe make the offender take a grammar class or a lesson in charm school but I'm thinking a 15 yard penalty puts the NFL at risk of once again becoming the No Fun League.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Can't Take It....

She learned about 3 things and she learned them well. In case you didn't notice, whenever Palin got in over her pretty little head she went back to what she knew and had engraved in to a T.

In watching the debate in comes down to one thing and it WAS asked. Who would you rather have in the White House if the unthinkable did indeed occur. Bringing up things such as "we need a little more of Wasilla Street in Washington DC " The first thing that came to my mind was flashing back to Jimmy Carter's only too public brother Billy. Relying on Reagan's old "there you go again" ... nothing about her is original. Nothing about what she had to say explained any plan by this Republican ticket. The entire election for the Republican party is based on what they can derogitorily say about the opposition rather than what this ticket stands for. Nothing changed in this debate.

If she said "soccer mom" or "maverick" one more time anyone could have put together a good drinking game with those buzz words. I am a soccer mom. I live in a rural community. I struggle to put food on the table from time to time. I do not make the income Sarah Palin makes. I will vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If the unthinkable were to happen, I would grieve my heart out and then I would also rest assured knowing that my country had someone in the White House who had experience and integrity and the know how to run this country. With their respective ticket nominees in the house, they each have their own stances. But when you look at the VP candidacy, you have to look at not only what they bring to the table but what they are a heart beat away from.

I am so proud of Joe Biden for answering the questions and particularly for addressing Palin's repeated "maverick" statement. I don't capitalize that because it doesn't warrant it. He is not a maverick for the people and not for anything that has mattered to the American people. The smear campaign that the McCain Palin ticket runs on is a desperate cry for power and to continue with W politics that have gotten this country nowhere but further behind in the things that matter to the American people.

After than this debate more than any other time the lines have firmly been drawn. Based on the FACTS....the have to vote for the change that will do the most good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Have a Noise Pollution Solution

Now that I work in a Med Spa, finding the right mix of music that is relaxing and commercial free even on satallite radio can be a mission. A friend of mine has now released a composition of natural sounds that is second to none. It is designed to keep out the disruptive noises that filter into our home and offices and provide you with a much more calming environment for wherever you are.

I was so impressed with Soniscape that I have talked to my friends in noisy neighborhoods who have children who nap, day care providers, professional offices and encouraged them to add this to their background rather than radio which at times can be inappropriate for a business.

Here is what composer Brett Houston has to say about this product:

"SoniScape is a "natural-sound" composition designed to mask out disruptive noises while creating a sedate, calming effect; providing a peaceful background for living, working and sleeping.
SoniScape functions similar to "white noise" generators or "noise-canceling" devices. However, SoniScape works more effectively, is enjoyable to listen to and is much more affordable. And, since it comes on a CD or MP3 you can take it anywhere.

SoniScape sounds great but it is not just another pretty sounding nature CD. SoniScape is engineered with a unique “Sound Wall” track, which is comprised of multiple tuned layers of natural sounds. This allows SoniScape to cover the entire audible frequency range, from the lowest thumping bass to the highest screaching car alarm, and serve as a total sound mask to not allow other disruptive sounds to pass through; providing you with a serene, natural background. It also works the other way around, if you are in an environment/profession where your conversations need to be kept private, SoniScape can help protect your secrets from curious ears."

For more information how you can purchase either a disk or download an MP3 of your own, please visit

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Starting Over...Again

Hello blog fans. I apologize to the few of you who check into my blog on a regular basis. My time had to be spent on building a career that ended up being unbuildable in the environment that it existed. Once that realization came to the surface, the next few days were spent in shear panic and despair. However, I'm back and the lessons that have been learned I hope to pass on to you all. The wonderful things in my life remain. And the newly gained appreciation of them has been invaluable.

The biggest lesson that I can share with you all today is to search for happiness. Above all in the misguided society and at a time when the economy has us all hanging on a little too long to thoughts of prosperity and wealth search out HAPPY.

For if we search out happy then the rest will come. For with happy comes all you need. It may not always be all you want, but in these times, its alright to just search out for what you need. And if we can find happiness in that. Then you will find you may just be truly happy. So I will have more for you in the days that follow. And you may see my blog undergo some changes such as the name and some other things. And you may notice at times the focus may jump from politics to just some spiritual sharing. I hope you'll check in. Let me know your thoughts.

Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Housing Tax Credit Beckons New Buyers

By Kenneth R. HarneyWashington Post
Article Launched: 08/03/2008 01:36:37 AM PDT

WASHINGTON - Anybody who has been sitting on the sidelines hesitant to jump into real estate until conditions settle down should know these dates: April 9, 2008, through June 30, 2009.
They mark the eligibility time span to qualify for the home purchase tax credit created by the massive housing bill approved by Congress. If you have not owned a house during the past three years - or are considering buying your first home - and can go to closing before the end of next June, you may be eligible for up to a $7,500 credit against your federal taxes for 2008 or 2009 ($3,750 if you file taxes as a single person).

The new credit is expected to benefit hundreds of thousands of buyers, although Congress set no limit on how many people can qualify. Here's a quick overview.

• The basic idea: To jump-start housing sales and clear out local unsold real estate inventories, Congress is offering tax credits to pull in new purchasers. Buy any house - new, old, any location or condition, any price range within the designated time period - and the IRS will cut up to $7,500 off your tax bill for either this year or next. For example, if you're an eligible buyer of a home this year and you owe the IRS $4,000 on your total 2008 income tax bill, your $7,500 tax credit could wipe out everything you owe plus get you a $3,500 refund.

• Eligibility rules: Do you own a home now? If so, you're not eligible for the credit.

Did you sell your home more than three years ago and now rent? You are eligible. The same is true if you've never owned a home before. Close on a house before next June 30, and you can claim a credit of up to 10 percent of the purchase price of the property up to a maximum of $7,500. If your adjusted gross income exceeds $150,000 ($75,000 for singles), the credit maximum begins to phase down in increments. You cannot claim the credit if you are a non-resident alien, financed the property using a state or local housing agency tax-exempt bond mortgage, or do not plan to use the house as your principal residence.

• Payback: Unlike some past tax credit programs, this one requires beneficiaries to repay the credit over an extended period of years. Starting in the second tax year after purchase and continuing for up to 15 years, taxpayers are expected to make pro-rata repayments to the government on their federal filings. Over a 15-year payback period for the full $7,500 credit, the cost would be $500 a year. If you sell the house before the end of the repayment period, and you have no gain on the sale, you won't be expected to pay the credit back from the proceeds. If you have a net gain, the "recapture" cannot exceed the amount of your gain.

Basically, the new tax credit functions very much like an interest-free loan for up to $7,500.
Rob Dietz, an economist for the National Association of Home Builders, says the new credit not only will pull first-time buyers into the market, but also will have a powerful "multiplier effect" as thousands of sellers of these credit-assisted houses go out and purchase replacement homes for themselves.

How do you claim the credit? If you pass the eligibility tests and buy before June 30, you simply request the credit on your tax return for either 2008 or 2009, which will be modified for that purpose. Even if you purchase in 2009, you can take the credit against your 2008 taxes by filing an amended return. For more information, go to

Contact Ken Harney at

Monday, July 28, 2008

Home Buying Assistance

In today's home buying market, it's getting harder and harder to get a home loan. As I see it in my day to day business, it's particularly hard for the first time home buyer who may have the funds to make the monthly payment, but may not have the money for the required down payment. I have recently been researching programs to help just this type of buyer.

What I have found is two types of programs both that very easy to do and worthwhile and both geared to go hand in hand with FHA loans.

The first will gift fund the 3% down required of FHA loans for the buyer. The catch is that you have to find a motivated seller that is willing to pay all the closing costs including the 3% down (that will ultimately go back to the gift funder) plus a $395 for using the program. If you have a seller willing to participate, this is an easy way to get a first time home buyer into their home. This program is offered to single family detached home and manufactured home buyers.

The other program that I have just discovered offers down payment assistance to first time home buyers who's property meets FHA requirements and is a single family detached home, manufactured home, townhouse, condominium and one to four owner occupied units. There is no purchase price limits, however, FHA will have limits in your area. The gift funds are not limited to the required 3% but will also go to fund your closing costs. The fee for the program is $295 plus the seller will incur certain agreed upon closing costs to permit the participation of their property in thee program that are equal to the amount that was gifted to the buyer, similar to the first program. Even if a buyer has funds, this program can come in handy to keep your cash on hand for improvements, furnishings and just emergency funding. Imagine getting into your home and coming the closing table with nothing. I can be done!

Now the catch. The House and Senate have recently passed bills to ban DPA's (Down Payment Assistance Programs). It's on it's way to the President's desk as we speak to be signed. If the ban is signed by President Bush it will NOT go into effect until October 1st. This bill will not effect any loan for which the mortgagee has issued credit approval for the borrower prior to October 1, 2008. In speaking directly to a representative of the second program mentioned, she stated to me that they will accept applications for their program until September 30, 2008.

If you live in Oregon or Washington and are interested in learning more about this type of loan, please call me as soon as possible at 541.786.1613 in order to get your application in. If you are an real estate agent with a client that could benefit from the program, call or email me at or visit Things are changing fast and this could be the last opportunity to take advantage of such a program.

If you are interested, below are some quotes from Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Barney Franks made yesterday afternoon in support of DPA and reported on C-Span as well as the text from the bill the eliminates seller funded DPA.

· Nancy Pelosi: Regretted that seller funded down payment was not in this bill but would support new legislation to include it.

· Maxine Waters (Congress woman from California) : Applauded the Fannie and Freddie Bailouts and said, "We did not get the Seller Funded DPA program but my Subcommittee on Housing will start immediately to work on this legislation that we can come back in a few months with a stand alone piece of legislation to do what needs to be done. This is an important Program. This program has helped over 730,000 homeowners between 2000-2007. It is extremely important to helping those who can afford to pay the mortgage every month that cannot afford the down payment to get into the home. It works! it works well and it needs to be understood. We need to put in the Law and do it correctly!

· Barney Franks Committee Chairman (who issued the compromise to get downpayment assistance removed from HR 3221): Immediately followed Maxine and said, "We were able to postpone the deadline for DPA until Oct. 1, there was also an issue on Risk Based Pricing. I believe we will have both of those resolved in a more flexible way before Oct. 1st so that Seller Financing and risk based pricing appropriately done will not go out of existence".

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Just Don't Get It

A lot of attention has recently come up regarding unfortunate comments made by Jesse Jackson. When it read things like this, it never fails to shock me. I guess the wagon left me behind because I don't see this campaign as a "black man" running as much as I see what he stands for and what he can do for our country.

Yes, I'm excited that we are on the threshold of electing our first African/American president but I am far more consumed by what he stands for and how the changes he is set to make will influence not only this nation but rather the world. I really, really wish people could get on THAT wagon and stop dropping the race card.

Someone once told me that there are African Amercians and there are *that degrogitory word that I won't even type* and there are white people and there is white trash or . Why must good and evil be segrigated? Why can't we simply acknowledge that there are now and always will be good and bad in this world and stop lumping them into racial divides?

Barack Obama is a man who can lead this free country and make some positive changes. Can't we start to LISTEN to him rather than just LOOKING at him?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


SALEM, ORE., 7 JULY 2008 – An Oregon-based guitar company has hit the market with the world’s first production aluminum archtop guitar. Introduced just last month in Nashville, Normandy Guitars instantly gained international acclaim and captured best of show honors at NAMM, the largest music trade show in the world.

Much like the transition from wood to metal in the tennis industry, the buzz in the music industry is that this could be the advent of a new era in the guitar market. “Our response at this show was phenomenal,” said Jim Normandy, CEO of Normandy Guitars. “The guitar’s distinctive craftsmanship and design gained recognition from artists, manufacturers and media. The world does not need another Stratocaster copy,’” said Normandy.

Macsimum News presented the “Best of Show” honors for Summer NAMM 2008, where they recognized the ATG-SB Aluminum-Body Guitar by Normandy Guitars as one of the hottest products at the show, “…seek out what you want and hold on to your strap when you hear the monster tone of Normandy Guitars,” they say. “Turn heads with your sound, but cause whiplash with a Normandy.”

The Normandy guitar is made out of specially selected aluminum, resulting in sustain qualities that are better and have been touted as far superior to the traditional wooden-bodied guitars. “The purity and length of time a single, plucked note can ring out clean and true are far superior... this is important to guitar players, especially those who play lead guitar,” says Normandy. “A
headlining act at one of the NAMM after-show concerts loved our guitar. They played the Normandy throughout their entire performance!”

The guitar features a body with classic archtop curves, a vintage Bigsby®-vibrato tailpiece and distinctive rivets on the front and back. The Normandy guitar is available in nine colors and three different finishes: chrome, several powder-coated colors and Candy Apple Metal Flake finishes. The chrome finish is triple electroplated. In that process, the body is initially buffed, electrically charged in a hot bath with Zincate, then dipped in copper, covered with nickel and completed with a flashy chrome finish.

For more information on Normandy Guitars, visit,, or call Jim Normandy at 503.689.1998.

About Normandy Guitars
The Normandy guitar is the world’s first production aluminum archtop. The American-made guitars are manufactured and hand-riveted in Salem, Oregon. Known for their sustain qualities and warm tones, these lightweight aluminum electric guitars are an instant classic. They are now available in nine colors and three different and unique finishes: chrome, several powder-coated colors and candy apple metal flake finishes. For more information or to order, visit or call 503.689.1998.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Early Death Comes from Distilled Water

During nearly 19 years of clinical practice I have had the opportunity to observe the health effects of drinking different types of water. Most of you would agree that drinking unfiltered tap water could be hazardous to your health because of things like


Many health fanatics, however, are often surprised to hear me say that drinking distilled water on a regular, daily basis is potentially dangerous.Paavo Airola wrote about the dangers of distilled water in the 1970's when it first became a fad with the health food crowd.Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated and the vapour condensed. Distilled water is free of dissolved minerals and, because of this, has the special property of being able to actively absorb toxic substances from the body and eliminate them. Studies validate the benefits of drinking distilled water when one is seeking to cleanse or detoxify the system for short periods of time (a few weeks at a time). Fasting using distilled water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals like magnesium, deficiencies of which can cause heart beat irregularities and high blood pressure. Cooking foods in distilled water pulls the minerals out of them and lowers their nutrient value.Distilled water is an active absorber and when it comes into contact with air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, making it acidic. The more distilled water a person drinks, the higher the body acidity becomes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 'Distilled water, being essentially mineral-free, is very aggressive, in that it tends to dissolve substances with which it is in contact. Notably, carbon dioxide from the air is rapidly absorbed, making the water acidic and even more aggressive. Many metals are dissolved by distilled water.'The most toxic commercial beverages that people consume (i.e. cola beverages and other soft drinks) are made from distilled water. Studies have consistently shown that heavy consumers of soft drinks (with or without sugar) spill huge amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals into the urine. The more mineral loss, the greater the risk for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases generally associated with premature aging.A growing number of health care practitioners and scientists from around the world have been advocating the theory that aging and disease is the direct result of the accumulation of acid waste products in the body.There is a great deal of scientific documentation that supports such a theory. A poor diet may be partially to blame for the waste accumulation. These and other junk foods can cause the body to become more acidic:

fried foods
soft drinks
processed foods
white flour products
dairy products

Stress, whether mental or physical can lead to acid deposits in the body.There is a correlation between the consumption of soft water (distilled water is extremely soft) and the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Cells, tissues and organs do not like to be dipped in acid and will do anything to buffer this acidity including the removal of minerals from the skeleton and the manufacture of bicarbonate in the blood.The longer one drinks distilled water, the more likely the development of mineral deficiencies and an acid state.I have done well over 3000 mineral evaluations using a combination of blood, urine and hair tests in my practice. Almost without exception, people who consume distilled water exclusively, eventually develop multiple mineral deficiencies.Those who supplement their distilled water intake with trace minerals are not as deficient but still not as adequately nourished in minerals as their non-distilled water drinking counterparts even after several years of mineral supplementation.The ideal water for the human body should be slightly alkaline and this requires the presence of minerals like


Distilled water tends to be acidic and can only be recommended as a way of drawing poisons out of the body. Once this is accomplished, the continued drinking of distilled water is a bad idea.Water filtered through reverse osmosis tends to be neutral and is acceptable for regular use provided minerals are supplemented.Water filtered through a solid charcoal filter is slightly alkaline. Longevity is associated with the regular consumption of hard water (high in minerals). Disease and early death is more likely to be seen with the long term drinking of distilled water. Avoid it except in special circumstances.Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc

Airola, P. 1974. How To Get Well. Phoenix, AZ: Health Plus Publishers.Baroody, Dr. Theodore A. Jr. Alkalinize or Die. California:Portal Books, 1995.Haas, Elson M. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. The Complete Guide to Diet & Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, California:Celestial Arts, 1992; p. 22.Rona, Zoltan P. and Martin, Jeanne Marie. Return to the Joy of Health, Vancouver: Alive Books, 1995.Rona, Zoltan P. Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection. Rocklin, California:Prima Books, 1996.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I just had a conversation tonight regarding gas prices. My mentor mentioned that he and his wife just returned from a month in Europe. They said that when they returned to the US they could feel the tension with the economy being what it is and fuel prices skyrocketing out of this world. He also delivered some grim news. He said, in his opinion, this is no where near the top. He feels that gas prices will not stop rising until they hit around $6.50 per gallon. In Europe they toured one of the richest oil countries around and they were paying $10 per gallon. And this is a country that produces it's own fuel.

Pretty grim. So it's no longer a situation about where the prices will stop, but rather what are you going to do to improve your income $400-$450 a month so that you can manage it. What are you going to do to manage it? Mmmmm.....good question.

One solution. Invest in your own home based business. Sleep deprivation is a huge issue in society. So most likely if you are like most American's taking a second or in some cases a third job may seem overwhelming. Looking at what fits into your life at the moment seems logical and most of us talk, right? We talk at work. We talk to our friends and we talk to our family. Well, why not talk to them about something that could be beneficial for everyone. And while your at it, why not talk about NIKKEN.

What astounded me when I got involved with NIKKEN and I started talking about it, I haven't had one person tell me a single negative thing about the company. The 33 year established business has such a well earned reputation that maybe not everyone wants to be a business builder with you, but they will be pleased with the products. Seems people I talk to have a) not heard of it before or b) oh yeah, their mom has used it and loves it or something similar.

It's time to look at home based businesses as a serious means of supplemental income. Rising costs of fuel and groceries will not go down soon. Therefore, it is imperative that we find additional means of bridging the gap. What are you going to do the make up the financial difference of $450 a month? What if it could be even more?

In network marketing, you definitely reap what you sow. You get out of it what you want to put into it and if you want to do it part time or full time, you can't go wrong as long as you move forward.

Personally, I'm looking for business builders. However many hours you can contribute, I want you on my team. I want to build you up, because that is how you win at this game, by helping others and I want us both to benefit from the knowledge of an amazing upline and sidelines to make a difference not only in our financial well being but in our health as well. More and more we hear about stress effecting our health and how it is a leader in health issues in this country. Give me a call or drop me an e if you are looking for a way out of financial worries and way in to a healthier more financially stable life. I'm standing by. or 541.786.1613.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shannon Miller Joins NIKKEN

From the Heleman Group:

Shannon Miller a 7 time Olympic Medalist and 9 time World Medalist remains The Most Decorated American Gymnast, male or female, in history, having won more Olympic and World Championship Medals than any other US gymnast.

Shannon has a BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and a law degree from Boston College. She now spends her time as a highly sought after motivational speaker, television host, author, sports broadcaster and clinician.

Shannon hosts Gymnastics 360°, founded the Shannon Miller Foundation to fight childhood obesity and Co-Chair's the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness in Florida.

Accomplishments and awards from her sport only begin to tell the story of this remarkable young woman. She has overcome many obstacles to achieve greatness; a true testimonial to all those who have a dream and work hard to achieve it.

Doug Braun shared the following:
As far as her being the most decorated American gymnast and all the medals that she has won; she has been abducted into six Halls of Fame and will be inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame on June 9,2008.

She is the only woman in any sport to be inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame twice; once as an individual and second for being part of the Olympic teams. So she is a very dynamic woman. We look forward to her participation with Nikken and her participation in this launch event.

I mentioned that there is a product associated with this and Shannon is going to lend her endorsement to the Nikken products. It will be primarily towards one product, which is a new sport bracelet. Her tie into this sport bracelet is very similar to what we're doing with the current green sport bracelet and our donation to Autism Speaks.

This new sport bracelet will not replace Autism Speaks - this bracelet will continue. The new bracelet is a new color and upgraded design. You are going to love it.

This new bracelet is going to be tied into the Shannon Miller Foundation. With the purchase of every bracelet, we will be making a donation to the Shannon Miller Foundation, which is setup to fight childhood obesity.

In addition to Shannon using our products, endorsing our products; she has a philosophy in her life and how she works that is very similar to Nikken. We will be supporting the Shannon Miller Foundation and her fight against childhood obesity. This bracelet will participate in a major way in that effort.

The timing of this is perfect because as I mentioned Shannon is going to be inducted in to the Woman's Sports Hall of Fame on June 9th.

June 19th - 21st are the US Olympic gymnastic trials, which Shannon will be participating in at many different levels. There is going to be lots of Press around this.
Shannon will be participating in the trials so there's probably going to be some media around that. She is already wearing our new bracelet!

We have the Olympics coming up in August. This is an opportunity to create an awful lot of excitement around Shannon and huge excitement around Nikken and our new bracelet. It's going to be a Go for the Gold type bracelet!

We're going to be able to make a lot of noise come here in June!

*Bloggers Note: Along with Shannon Miller comes a new product! Our new Tri Phase Bracelet is now available and part of the proceeds go the Shannon Miller Foundation to bring awareness to childhood obesity. For more information on how you can get one, email me at

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Note From the OBAMA Campaign

Barack announced an important decision for our campaign today.

I want to add a little context to the video message you received earlier announcing that we will not participate in the public financing system for the general election.

Even though we stood to receive more than $80 million in taxpayer funding for our campaign, the system has been so gamed and exploited by our opponents that it is effectively broken.
John McCain, the Republican National Committee, and their allies in so-called 527 groups that raise and spend unlimited contributions are dedicated to manipulating this broken system to raise as much money as possible -- and they've proven that they're very good at it.

A top McCain adviser told MSNBC earlier this month, "now that we're in the general election, the RNC money counts, the DNC money counts. So the truth is today, John McCain has more cash on hand and more money than Barack Obama does."

In April alone, they raised nearly $45 million. That's more than our campaign and the Democratic National Committee combined. And that doesn't include the plans of 527 groups like the one called "Freedom's Watch," which has said it will spend as much as $250 million under Karl Rove's direction to attack and defeat Barack Obama.

To compete, Barack has put his faith in ordinary people giving only what they can afford. That's been the strategy of this campaign from the beginning, and more than 1,500,000 supporters like you have gotten us this far.

We have a historic opportunity to prove that a movement of ordinary people has the power to change the way political campaigns are funded. And we have a clear goal as we begin this new challenge: 50,000 people declaring their independence by making a donation before July 4th.
You can help take on John McCain and the RNC by making your first donation today.
A previous donor is standing by to match your gift and double your impact. You can even exchange a personal note with them about why you've chosen to support Barack.

Declare your independence from our broken system. Make a matching donation today:

Opting out of public matching funds was an extremely difficult decision, and frankly we are at a disadvantage when it comes to raising money. Unlike John McCain, this campaign has never accepted donations from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs.
While McCain has built his fundraising strategy around high-dollar donors giving huge checks to the RNC, you are creating a new model for publicly financed campaigns.

Thank you for your support and for taking on the masters of a broken system,
David PlouffeCampaign ManagerObama for America

Monday, June 16, 2008


Guitar Company Creates First PRODUCTION Aluminum ArchTop

SALEM, ORE., 12 JUNE 2008 – An Oregon-based guitar company has hit the market with the world’s first production aluminum archtop guitar. Normandy Guitars of Salem, Oregon has officially introduced a lightweight aluminum model that is unlike any other guitar on the market.

“I started making aluminum basses 15 years ago and it’s evolved into this incredible product. Our final model is the result of 15 different prototypes we’ve developed over the past five years,” says Jim Normandy, the creative mind and CEO behind Normandy Guitars. “Our goal all along has been to be different but not too weird or ‘space age’… to offer the guitar world something new and modern but with classic sound: an affordable but "top of the line," high-end masterpiece. I think we've met those goals tenfold; the feedback I'm getting from all types of musicians is overwhelmingly positive.”

The Normandy guitar is made out of specially selected aluminum, resulting in sustain qualities that are better and have been touted as far superior to the traditional wooden bodied guitars. “The purity and length of time a single, plucked note can ring out clean and true are far superior... this is important to most guitar players, especially those who play lead guitar,” says Normandy.

The guitar features a body with classic archtop curves, a vintage Bigsby®-vibrato tailpiece and distinctive rivets on the front and back. The Normandy guitar is available in nine colors and three different finishes: chrome, powder coat and Candy Apple Metal Flake finish. The chrome finish is triple electroplated. In that process, the body is initially buffed, electrically charged in a hot bath with Zincate, then dipped in copper, covered with nickel and completed with a flashy chrome finish.

Normandy has created a killer guitar that also is affordable. “Through the development of our welding processes and riveting, and because of our large manufacturing plant, we are able to make the body in a fraction of the time it takes other folks to create theirs. So, our price point is considerably less than what you’d pay for other guitars, somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000,” says Normandy.

Those attending the NAMM show on June 20-22 in Nashville, Tennessee will get the first peek at the Normandy guitar. Normandy Guitars will have a booth at the event, showcasing their revolutionary product. The NAMM show is the world’s largest music trade show; it is held this summer at the Nashville Convention Center. Follow Normandy’s journey to Nashville on For more information or to order, call 503.689.1998.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

I didn't used to be into politics like I am now. I never really understood how it all worked. Until this guy started coming on the Today Show and was ever present at the 2000 elections with that darn dry erase board and it all started to come together. I began to understand what was going on, what mattered, what didn't and how my vote mattered or didn't. Then I began to watch this show called Meet the Press. Yeah, the very show that used to make me roll my eyes as a kid when my parents watched it. I thought it was the most boring thing you could watch but in the past several years, it had become a must see in my household. It made sense. Those who were unclear were asked to justify and those who lied were called to the carpet. Yes, there was a little justice in politics after all. And now, it's over. The nation lost one of the good guys out there. Someone who didn't write tell all books or even share his own views an not once did his own agenda come in to place. He just did what he could to make clear and very cloudy political world to so many of us out here. And dare I say I feel as if I have lost a teacher. Like the one math teacher you had who made it all make sense. No, political journalism will never be the same. Any one who has to take that place will be a mere shadow of the man who reined at the Bureau.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Barack on the Economy

Road Etiquette

Whenever I take a road trip, I am always reminded of things that tick me off and that are just plain rude. So here are just a couple of road etiquette reminders for my readers. And maybe you might just have a story or two to share of your own.

1. If you MUST drive in the passing lane, MOVE OVER when someone is trying to pass you! Yesterday I was behind someone in the passing lane with several people behind me . I saw them look in the rear view mirror and just stay there. So the people behind me started to pass on the inside and eventually I did too shaking my head at the driver of the car as I passed. This happened on a 250 mile trip yesterday not once but 3 times. So people, please, if you must drive there for whatever reason, give the other drivers on the road a break.

2. If someone is trying to merge on to the interstate and you have the availability to do so, move into the passing lane. I had a truck driver block me in one time with NO ONE in the passing lane. Rude.

3. Don't pass me like your hiney is on fire and then slow down in front of me. That is what cruise control is for.

4. And my all time biggest pet peeve is not highway driving at all but in town. Funeral processions. People, (and maybe your town isn't as guilty of this as mine) don't cut in, honk your horn, drive through or exhibit any other sort of rude behavior. If you see a line of cars with their lights on in the middle of the day driving slowly behind a hurse, ultimately you should pull over and pay your respects as you would for an emergency vehicle. But at the very least, stay out of the way for the friends and family members who have lost a loved on. I didn't realize how bad my town was about it until I attended my uncle's funeral in another state. There, cars pulled over all the way to the cemetary and most actually got out the car and stood at attention as we drove by. I was blown away. So parents teach your kids about this form of respect and practice it yourselves. A little old fashioned politeness can go a long way today.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Crunchie Stretches

If you own an athletic horse, chances are you've heard of "carrot stretches". As the photo here from Today's Horse demonstrates, carrot stretches are great way to keep your horse limber and eliminate the risk of some injuries.

I have an 11 year old thoroughbred off the track or should I say that she has me. I have finished her for polo with the help of many friends. After an injury I kept her supple over the winter with these stretches. Well today I found something better.

Though she loves her carrots, today I did her stretches with a Canter Crunchie and saw amazing results. She loves these treats. I took one treat and broke a piece off of it and flexed her to the left then the right. Then she got her reward. Then I took another piece and did it again. I took the final piece and put it to her chest and not only did she flex low but backed and backed which will help strengthen her hind quarters.

Check out Today's Horse for specific instructions to these stretches but call me today to order your Canter Crunchies. Just $13 and the profits go to help send my son to Santa Barbara with his interscholastic polo team in the spring of 2009. Lines are open and standing by! 541.786.1613

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


A day I didn't think history would see in my lifetime. A man, unwavering in his convictions and unwilling to bend to the negative has been nominated for the democratic ticket for the White House. And not that this is that amazing, though in these times it is, but that fact that he is a black man running for the white house is historic.

I fell in love with this candidate when I saw him at the DNC four years ago as did many others. I watched it alone in my front room at midnight on the edge of my chair wondering if I should wake my children to hear it. I watched that speech on You Tube again tonight and wasn't completely suprised to see that he has not wavered on the convictions he spoke of back then. He still believes now as he did then.

And more amazing? He has not dipped into that negative abyss to get to where he is today. He didn't vote for the war and he still stands behind so many other things that he held dear then. Have you ever thought about why you don't see negative ads about him? Because we finally have a candidate folks that doesn't have skeletons in the closet. I've watched this man for four years and I have to say he has yet to disappoint me. You have someone running now that will not accept lobbyist money. You have someone now folks who is vowing for an open door politics. Get the dirty laundry out there for all of us to see and let us decide who we want in the senate and congress. Never in my life have I heard someone willing to do just that.

I heard him speak and he's not afraid to say when he doesn't know. And he has a plan to back up his ideals and he has the conviction to see it through.

Oh yes, I am very excited about these winds of change. Change that is so needed in the world right now. The world needs healing and if anyone can do it, this man can. And on this historic day in the world, I was touched once again to find in this clip below of a moved Chris Matthews from Rev. Desmond Tutu and he feelings about Obama. Matthews also points out that we are not the only one's glued to our sets and radios at this time, the world is listening also. And this excitement radiates all over.

Yes, if healing can occur, I believe this is the man to do it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Truck

Okay so about two months ago, I bought my first truck. It's nothing fancy. I got a very used 1994 GMC Sierra with a crap ton of miles on it that has had some tough love but overall is a hot lookin' truck.

Payments are inexpensive. Gas is not. I drive it very conservatively. My prayers are that it does what I need it to do for two years and then I'll upgrade to something less....used. I love my truck. It wasn't in the plans but for a single gal with a kid, dog and horse, it makes life easier when it comes to hauling hay, dumping yard debris and overall horsewoman activities. But the one thing I didn't see coming was joining the club.

I live in a rural area, population of about 13,000. People that is. Livestock numbers are higher. But something I've noticed since I've had the Green Moose (she's a full figured gal) is that other people in trucks wave to me as if we are secret members of some sort of "country" club. Most of them I don't know but I can count on driving past a fellow quarter ton-er and getting a wave. A brief acknowledgement that I am a member of "the club".

I've always loved a man in a cowboy hat that tips his hat as you walk by. I love being dirty at the end of the day and knowing my horse and kids are happy and the chores done look great. I didn't originally want to live in a rural community but I do. Now I wouldn't live anywhere else.

The best part? Waving back to a friendly stranger and knowing the kinship you find in small town life. It never fails to suprise me and makes me smile every time.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rounding Up Business

With tumultuous times in the home buying market, it seems loans are harder and harder to come by. The media has played it's role in the scare tactics that have been placed in front of potential home buyers but I tend to disagree with their point of view.

I have learned in my profession that living in a "declining" state may not be the bleak forecast many of your are lead to believe. For example, in Oregon, if just one county is in a declining market, then for the sake of simplicity, the entire state is labeled as being in decline. That doesn't mean your area is declining or even the area you are looking to relocate to.

As I have posted before, if you can purchase, do! In declining markets prices may dip but rest assured they will rise again. I don't believe any home that was purchased 20 years ago or even 10 years ago has a value less than the selling price. Especially if you look to be in your property for several years, don't be afraid to take the leap and buy.

Another reason to take the leap is that for awhile now, rates will not be any lower. At Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc., we are lucky to have a team of advisers who steadily throughout the day provide us with insight as to current market trends which allow us to better advise our clients as to what the next move should be.

As I started to say, programs for home loans are being cut every day. But what you may not know is that lenders are also looking for solutions to the first time home buyer to get their home with little to know money down. There is a way.

I am so proud to work where I do where integrity is abundant. I specialize in taking the first time home buyer by the hand and walking them through the home buying process. If there is a way, I can find it. So if you live in Washington or Oregon and you are interested in learning if you can buy a home, give me a call. I'll be glad to advise you on the next step. Now is not the time to get caught with second rate lenders who sell you a bill of goods only for you to find that the deal wasn't as great as you originally thought.

Monday, May 26, 2008

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Thursday, May 22, 2008


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Today I just got angry. I have not been a Hillary hater. But I have clearly not been a Billary supporter either. I was a big Edwards fan and those of you who have followed my blog know this. But since his dismissal I've fallen back on a favorite since the last Democratic convention. My only fear was whether or not this was his time.

I am now convinced that it is. The only thing that could make me happier is if he chose John Edwards as his running mate, something I am told will likely never happen. Heaven help you all if it does because I will become insufferable!

Back to Billary. She's been caught in some unfortunate lies and actions that have painted her in a less than perfect light. I've been told since I was a kid that if it walks like a duck, talk likes a duck, chances are, it's a duck. And now, her desire for sheer limelight is just beginning to agrivate me.

Some say she's lining herself up in the event that Obama does badly or to unseat McCain in 12. Whatever the reason, say goodnight already, IRENE! Staying in the race can only paint her in a negative light at this point. It's like the kareoke person who won't sit down, the bad comedian who keeps telling the same sad jokes over and over again and if it were the Gong Show I would have reached for the hammer a month ago. Once she saw after the last big delegate day that her hopes were imminently dashed, grace says she should have taken her final bow.

Now, today I have to ask myself....If she cannot unify her own party at this point, what makes anyone think she can unify this country? I would have far more respect for her and give her a harder look in 2012, if it were warranted, if she handled herself in a manner that gave me reason to do so. At this point, she is Uncle Sal who stays too long after Thanksgiving dinner to the point where you roll your eyes, offer to drive him home and do whatever it takes for him to end his overstated welcome.

The reasonable thing for her to do is bow out, support her candidate, back him with all her might, tell the truth and put herself in a good place to run again in 8 years when Obama has finished his term. If she were willing to so, I'm betting he would repay the favor and back her whole heartedly.

Come on Hillary. Do what's best for your party to support it and stop expecting it to support you. In doing so, you may just give yourself another chance.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mr. President in Pendleton Oregon

Do We Want This in the White House?

In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, (Terry)McAuliffe referred to surveys of voters as they left their polling places which showed Clinton running most strongly among less-educated white voters, among whom she won nearly 75 percent support.